The past four decades demonstrated that non-neuronal cells, called astrocytes are emerging as crucial players for brain function & dysfunction. A major obstacle of previous and current initiatives on Neurotechnologiesis a lack of focus on astrocytes and most of the tools used to probe and sense astrocytes are derived from those developed to study neurons. ASTROTECH will create and develop the field of Glial Engineering, to provide a consistent range of tools to record, study, and manipulate astrocytes in the healthy and diseased brain. ASTROTECH will train 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) on research, training and complimentary skills aiming at: engineering biomaterials and nanostructured interfaces to provide in vivo-like in vitro models for controlled & reliable studies of astrocytes in vitro; fabrication and characterization of nanostructured devices for stimulation, recording and biosensing of astrocytes; optogenetics tools, optoelectronic device &photonic methods for precise and cell selective stimulation of astrocytes; computational approaches to describe and predict neuron-astrocytes interactions. The training on state-of-the-art biomaterials interfaces, electronic, photonic devices will be combined with in depth knowledge on optogenetics, neuroscience, glial physiology and biology and computational methods to validate the developed tools in vitro, ex vivo, in silico & in pathological models of glioma, ischemia, epilepsy and depression. The ASTROTECH network combines 11 beneficiaries and 14 partners belonging to 9 European and Non-EU countries Academia, Public Research Centers and industrial labs, that combines interdisciplinary, intersectoral and soft skills knowledges where the private sector is highly represented and covers every step “from benchside to bedside” of the value chain.
ASTROTECH will improve career perspectives of the next generation of scientists.